Harmful algal blooms and E. coli sampling

NDEE conducts weekly sampling for Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs), also known as toxic blue-green algae, and E. coli bacteria at 51 public recreational lakes (54 sites in all) across Nebraska from May through September and these results are updated weekly.  Samples are typically collected on Monday and results are posted on the website on Friday.

Current Lake(s) on Health Alert:  These lakes that have been placed on Health Alert as a result of their most recent sample exceeding 8 parts per billion (ppb) for the HAB toxin, microcystin.  When a beach is on Health Alert, it is recommended the No Contact with the water occur.

The limit for microcystin in Nebraska since 2004 has been 20 ppb.  However, new research into the negative health effects of HABs and their associated toxins has led the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to recommend a new Health Alert threshold.  The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy have reviewed the proposal and the associated research and believe that the new recommendation has been made using the most current and best scientific evidence available.  As such, the State of Nebraska will begin using the new recommended threshold of 8 ppb for microcystin.

Tap or click a row in the table to view a map of the lake, and its sampling history for microcystin and E. coli.

High bacteria:  unusually high readings of E. coli bacteria can also be a health concern; samples above 235 colonies per 100 ml water are considered high.  Incidental ingestion of water from lakes that have recently tested high significantly increases the chance of an illness associated with ingestion of E. coli bacteria.

More information

No sample or blank values:  If the value is marked "No sample" then the sample could not be collected or could not be analyzed.  For example, a sample container might have broken before it was analyzed.  If the sample value is blank then the data has not been checked for validity.

Precautions and Facts Regarding Toxic Algae at Nebraska Lakes

Harmful Algal Bloom Facts  * (links to an EPA website)

More information on E. coli bacteria and its potential health effects.

If I am experiencing health symptoms, who do I call?

If you experience health symptoms, notify your physician, and also report it to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services at (402) 471-0510. You can also contact the Nebraska Regional Poison Center at 800-222-1222 for more information.

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